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  Edouard Baldus and his Secret ... revealed   

Peter Lindlein


2. Edouard Baldus – Painter, Photographer and Member of the Legion of Honour

                      Edouard Baldus - Self Portrait 1853

             Paris - Pantheon

He does get to work, travelling on the train with King Napoleon III. and Queen Victoria, making photographs during the visit of the Queen and combines them with photos from his portfolio to an album containing fifty large prints. The luxurious red leather album with the title „Visite de Sa Majeste la Reine Victoria et de Son Altesse Royale le Prince Albert 18-27 aout 1855; Itineraire et vues du Chemin de fer du Nord" is handed over to Queen Victoria. This gem is now in the collection of Queen Elizabeth II in the royal archives at Windsor Castle.

Working for government he documents the great floods of the Rhone with his pictures (1856), makes photographs of the construction of the new Louvre by order of Napoleon III (1855-58) and is considered one of the leading photographers of France. His work for the government and the documentation of the national culture are widely acclaimed:

In August of 1860 Edoard Baldus is awarded the decoration as "Chevalier" of the "Legion d’honneur", for his contributions to the progress of his art, as photographer and inventor.

But this successful stage of his career is overshadowed by the death of his wife, who died in the spring of 1858 at the age of only 35 years. The secret of his past seems to rest on him like a curse. His mother in law is now taking care of the children, as Baldus is travelling again. In 1861 he is commissioned by the „Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée" (PLM) to make photographs of the line and buildings, and the result is the second major photo work of Baldus on the railway.